It all goes back to Capt. Charles Johnson's A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, particularly the second edition published in December 1724. I mention the second edition because it is radically different in some respects from the first, an earlier version which was published only six months before, in May 1724. These variations beg the question of its authenticity as an historical source.
Not only is its authenticity in question, but Capt. Charles Johnson wasn't even the author's name. Johnson never existed. The real author was once thought to be Daniel DeFoe, but since we have learned that his name was Nathaniel Mist, a polemical Jacobite newspaper publisher in London. Furthermore, there is speculation of late as to whether a financially ailing Mist had been coerced by the British government, Lord Sunderland in particular, to diminish the reputation of pirates in America - to eliminate possible rebellion 60 years before the American Revolution!
Still, generations of pirate amateurs and scholars alike claim this book to be the solitary and sacred "Bible" of pirate historical information.
Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and His World. A preview of this book is available at Google Books.
Asking this question forces pirate authors and scholars across the world to examine their 300-year-old prejudices. Moreover, once Mist's flawed book is taken out of the equation and replaced by actual primary evidence, a very different picture is revealed of pirates in America - at least about the ex-privateers of Jamaica and Bermuda until about 1718. These men, like Edward Thache, are not poor and desperate. They are not notorious villains or demons, but were wealthy freeholders and may actually have been revered as great heroes to early Americans - revolutionaries whose revolution failed and became a rebellion. This rebellion was put down hard by the British and propagandized against by books like Mist's. The propaganda knocked down America's heroes.
And, we subconsciously still knock them down today.
Quest for Blackbeard is naturally controversial. This book forces us to view a 300-year-accepted prejudice from another angle. As a result, we also must view the beginnings of our nation from a new perspective - a not so comfortable glance in the mirror - perhaps one reason that the old British view of American pirates has survived for so long!
|This image does not represent ex-privateers and Colonial American heroes like Edward "Blackbeard" Thache. This is the view that 18th-century British authorities had of America itself.|
"Quest for Blackbeard" has finally been approved for Global Distribution which means that it will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Alibris, and other online booksellers very soon. Look for it to appear on my Author's Amazon site.
It is already previewable on Google Books.
I will also send a free "Genealogy of Blackbeard" family chart (11" x 17" poster) to the first ten people to review the book on the Amazon site or on my Lulu site at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bcbrooks